tv [untitled] July 24, 2010 5:31pm-6:01pm PST
arrived home and hopefully you will feel the same. finally i want to thank the volunteers. the recreation and parks department. you a -- these are difficult financial times. you don't need to hear it from them. you see it on the paper every day. we were not -- would not be able to manage all the parks in san francisco, 242, without incredible people like ann and ken and others here today. so thank you and a big round of applause to the volunteers. right now i want to give a certificate of appreciation first to ken maily. vemplet tica. thank you. and ann halstead. thank you so much. thanks to you -- back to you, rose. >> one of the major components of this day being a success was
the tremendous and spectacular support we received from one of our sister agencies, the saverp fire department. it is -- san francisco fire department. it is our great honor to introduce to you the chief of the san francisco fires department, miss joanne h air. kwhite. >> thank you and -- haiswhite. >> thank you and good afternoon. i would like to say thanks for the great coordination effort. rosie did a great job and the director plinlal. -- blumenthal. it's a great honor to be standing here before you,, a native daughter. what did you think of the 65-foot ladder race? pretty incredible. i would be certainly remiss if i didn't introduce personally
each member. most of them are not working today and they volunteered their time to come here. just like the sheriff's department and police department that play a large role in the city, we're part of this -- the fabric of this great estimate so engine company 41, operating a rig under the direction of o'neill, and i would like to introduce each and every one of the members. it's a 10-person lift that made the demonstration. first, ramon simone. kevin walsh. julio delucchi, dave cites. doug menguay, pat moran.
sasha grande. marco lopez. jonathan ashbrook. down to two. daniel mccloskey. and the person that called the ladder and bravely climbed the ladder and flew our beautiful flag, larry mcdonald. i'd also like to acknowledge paul barry in the red shirt. paul is president of our san francisco fire historical society and there are many members today, including the huggins, that are up here with me. i'd like to ask donna and chuck to step forward. donna is press -- dressed in the period costume of lily hitchcock coit. >> hello, everybody. great to be here! >> we also have retired captain
jook -- jack mccloskey as well as phil egg anl -- eggan. we -- egan. we love being part of this city. our halt is off to lily hitchcock coit. i stand here today with ian, a descendant of lily hitchcock coit. i must say even though i don't smoke cigars or gamble, my hat is off to lily hitchcock coit. she was a visionary person. . maybe a little ahead of her time. i know if might have been an active member of the fighter department. . but she's near and dear to the heart of everybody in the 2ke789 thank you for the generosity and thank you for coming out and celebrating with us.
>> we are very, very honored to have members of lily's family with us here today. down below, barbara. right there, barbara coit is sitting right there. and i'd like to introduce barbara's son, mr. michael coit. >> hello. what a remarkable day. what a grand place. coit tower and telegraph hill never disappoint as a tranquil outlook over a bustling city and busy world. i never tire of treking up here with family and friends. but there is not doctor an extra attraction today -- preferred parking. a first for this coit and i'm a native. the coit family owes its presence in san francisco to two tall, distinguished
yankees. first came my great-great uncle howard coit, an enterprising man in the still young state of california. a member of the san francisco stock exchange in the 18 70's and 1880's, he met and married lily hitchcock, that lovely lady. a century after howard coiment married lily hitchcock, my father moved here with huts wife, barbara wheeler, from dallas to san francisco. like his great-uncle, my father also was drown bit promise of business opportunity here. my parents nurtured the family's links to this great landmark, becoming mascots of sorts to the telegraph hill dwellers, attending the coit 50th anniversary in 1983 and the rededication of pioneer park in 2001.
my father would be here talking to you today but he passed away four years ago. he was very proud of our family's link to this but very humbled as well. coit tower's 75th anniversary is important because it returns attention to this art deco landmark, a symbol for a progressive city then and now. from lily hitchcock coit's bequest to the muralists who covered coit tower's interior with diverse impressions of the city's politics and people, coit tower reflects a civic-minded people prone to bold action and provocative viewpoints. coit tower is a place for great architecture, art, and a place to meet the world. thank you. >> i'd now like to introduce one of the members of the diamond jubilee committee.
we put together a committee earlier this year and that's how we arrived at this point and the person that was extremely key in pulling this together logistically, creatively, spiritually for me and keeping me from going cuckoo -- cuckoo is a wonderful person who lives in this community, mr. ken maily. >> thank you. it's an honor to be here again. i had the pleasure to be here in 19983 for the 50th anniversary with then-may r dianne feinstein, who's the honorary chairman of our this year semicesc quite centennial. the senator sent a note of greetings the 8 it's my pleasure to extend a warm welcome to all of you at the
75th coit tower diamond judge brinkemaee. i'm sorry i'm unable to be with you today. the coit tower is one of the crown jewels of the city, known throughout the world for its beauty. as a united states senator and former payor of san francisco i once again welcome all of you to this celebration and thank you for recognizing the rich history of this beloved landmark. sincerely, senator dianne feinstein. as i said, i'm proud to be here again today. i'm already thinking they'll start tomorrow planning for the 100th anniversary in 2023 and maybe have a little more lead time. coit tower and pioneer park are symbols've the city's pride in the late 1800's. through the the city's history there are legends of civic pride and heroic deachtds the
phoenix over the doorway represents several rebirths of san francisco, from the fires that destroyed it and the great earthquake of 1906. these disasters include many stories of heroic efforts of citizens to rebuild. one of the most famous volunteers was the knickerbocker five. legend has it that at the age of 15 lily saw a fireman struggling to pull a fire engine up a hill. she dropped her school books and joined to help. they invited her to become a mascot. you've got to love anyone who smokes cigars, plays cards and loves firemen. this land was donated by citizens who purchased it in 1876 to preserve this historic
site and to honor. city's early pioneers. when lily died in the 1920's, as you've been told, her bequest is what built this tower, to beautify the city she loved. little did she or anyone recognize that this memorial would beautify the city but also become one of its iconic images. in the 1920's, a group of neighbors formed the pioneer park project and raised funds to build the new stairways you see here and you can visit the pioneer parks display over here on the west side that will announce phase two, to deal with the plantings on the north side. they have a credit card machine and are willing to take donations. if there say message in this commemoration of lily coit's gift to us three quarters of a
century to us i suggest it be a reminder of the importance of civic pride, to honor the history of volunteerism, to help the city in times of need, and believe me our parks are in a time of need, in small or large ways, support your parks and open spaces, appreciate the contribution the parks make to the extraordinary quality of life we enjoy in san francisco and the tradition of our men and women pioneers, step up and do what you can to maintain the beauty of the city we all love. thank you for joining us all today and again i look forward to 2033. >> all right. i want to the give you some information about what's going to go on after the ceremony is over. we have entertainment. we have free rides on the famous, famous elevator so you can go up and see the beautiful view people come from all over the world to see. the world-famous murals will
also be on display. lily hitchcock coit's diary and other pieces of memorabilia are going to be on display inside. additionally we had a number of generous doaners, one of which is mr. joseph schmidt -- please come over here -- mr. joseph schmidt, who is a true san franciscoan in the fact that he's generous and in good times and in bad, everybody loves his chocolate. if you haven't had his chocolate, you don't know what you're missing. he for this occasion built and carved himself a coit tower out of white and bittersweet chocolate which is on display in the tower when we open the tower today. thank you, mr. schmidt, for doing that for us. in addition, mr. pll schwab donated $25,000 worth of
graphic artwork design. this banner is made for this occasion only. we will give out free posters of this design today and that will be available for you. we also have half a dozen city guides here today to do commemorative tours of the tower the you can ask any question you have, no matter how esoteric, and they'll be able to answer it. also we will have jail productions, down here, to perform ragtime music. also, again, lots of history going on today, mitch morea zachaim, the author of the most influential book every written about coit tower, this book here, you have a rare opportunity to meet the author today and obtain a copy if you
would like. this copy is for madame speaker. >> oh, thank you very much. >> judy irving, the producer and direct -- director of the document orie paris on telegraph hill, is here today and you can meet here. also we have arts and crafts. you can make a commemorative coit tower button. there is food in the back. all that is located in the southern part of the tower overlooking lily's lawn, and there's also information including the san francisco parks trust, ms. karen kid wel, who is right there, generously loan -- donated as part of being a diamond jubilee committee member. i'd like now to introduce mr. nick rause, san francisco
>> there has been an acknowledgement of the special places around san francisco bay. well, there is something sort of innate in human beings, i think, that tend to recognize a good spot when you see it, a spot that takes your breath away. this is one of them. >> an icon of the new deal. >> we stood here a week ago and we heard all of these dignitaries talk about the symbol that coit tower is for san francisco. it's interesting for those of us in the pioneer park project is trying to make the point that not only the tower, not only this man-built edifice here is a symbol of the city but also the green space on which it sits and the hill to which is rests. to understand them, you have to understand the topography of san francisco. early days of the city, the
city grows up in what is the financial district on the edge of chinatown. everything they rely on for existence is the golden gate. it's of massive importance to the people what comes in and out of san francisco bay. they can't see it where they are. they get the idea to build a giant wooden structure. the years that it was up here, it gave the name telegraph hill. it survived although the structure is long gone. come to the 1870's and the city has growed up remarkably. it's fueled with money from the nevada silver mines and the gold rush. it's trying to be the paris of the west. now the beach is the suburbs, the we will their people lived on the bottom and the poorest people lived on the top because it was very hard getting to the top of telegraph hill. it was mostly lean-to sharks and bits of pieces of houses up here in the beginning. and a group of 20 businessmen
decided that it would be better if the top of the hill remained for the public. so they put their money down and they bought four lots at the top of the hill and they gave them to the city. lily hitchcock coit died without leaving a specific use for her bequest. she left a third of her estate for the beautify indication of the city. arthur brown, noted architect in the city, wanted for a while to build a tower. he had become very interested in persian towers. it was the 1930's. it was all about machinery and sort of this amazing architecture, very powerful architecture. he convinced the rec park commission that building a tower in her memory would be the thing to do with her money. >> it was going to be a wonderful observation place because it was one of the highest hills in the city anywhere and that that was the
whole reason why it was built that high and had the elevator access immediately from the beginning as part of its features. >> my fear's studio was just down the street steps. we were in a very small apartment and that was our backyard. when they were preparing the site for the coit tower, there was always a lot of harping and griping about how awful progress was and why they would choose this beautiful pristine area to do them in was a big question. as soon as the coit tower was getting finished and someone put in the idea that it should be used for art, then, all of a sudden, he was excited about the coit tower. it became almost like a daily destination for him to enjoy
the atmosphere no matter what the politics, that wasn't the point. as long as they fit in and did their work and did their own creative expression, that was all that was required. they turned in their drawings. the drawings were accepted. if they snuck something in, well, there weren't going to be any stoolies around. they made such careful little diagrams of every possible little thing about it as though that was just so important and that they were just the big frog. and, actually, no one ever felt that way about them and they weren't considered something like that. in later life when people would approach me and say, well, what did you know about it?
we were with him almost every day and his children, we grew up together and we didn't think of him as a commie and also the same with the other. he was just a family man doing normal things. no one thought anything of what he was doing. some of them were much more highly trained. it shows, in my estimation, in the murals. this was one of the masterpieces. families at home was a lot more close to the life that i can remember that we lived. murals on the upper floors like the children playing on the swings and i think the little deer in the forest where you could come and see them in the woods and the sports that were always available, i think it did express the best part of
our lives. things that weren't costing money to do, you would go to a picnic on the beach or you would do something in the woods. my favorite of all is in the staircase. it's almost a miracle masterpiece how he could manage to not only fit everyone, of course, a lot of them i recognized from my childhood -- it's how he juxtaposed and managed to kind of climb up that stairway on either side very much like you are walking down a street. it was incredible to do that and to me, that is what depicted the life of the times in san francisco. i even like the ones that show the industrial areas, the once with the workers showing them in the cannery and i can remember going in there and seeing these women with the
caps, with the nets shuffling these cans through. my parents had a ranch in santa rosa and we went there all summer. i could see these people leaning over and checking. it looked exactly like the beautiful things about the ranch. i think he was pretty much in the never look back philosophy about the coit. i don't think he ever went to visit again after we moved from telegraph hill, which was only five or six years later. i don't think he ever had to see it when the initials are scratched into everything and people had literally destroyed the lower half of everything. >> well, in my view, the tower had been pretty much neglected from the 1930's up until the 1980's. it wasn't until then that
really enough people began to be alarmed about the condition of the murals, the tower was leaking. some of the murals suffered wear damage. we really began to organize getting funding through the arts commission and various other sources to restore the murals. they don't have that connection or thread or maintain that connection to your history and your past, what do you have? that's one of the major elements of what makes quality of life in san francisco so incredible. when people ask me, and they ask me all the time, how do you get to coit tower, i say you walk. that's the best way to experience the gradual elevation coming up above the hustle and bustle of the city and finding this sort of oasis, if you will, at the top of the hill. when i walk through this park, i look at these brick walls and
this lawn, i look at the railings around the murals. i look at the restoration and i think, yeah, i had something to do with that. learning the lessons, thank you, landmarks meet landmarks. the current situation at pioneer park and coit tower is really based in public and private partnership. it was the citizens who came together to buy the land to keep it from being developed. it was lily hitchcock coit to give money to the city to beautify the city she loved of the park project worked to develop this south side and still that's the basis of our future project to address the north side.qed public broadcastr